The short answer is no, but that would make for a very quick and not terribly engaging workshop, let alone blog post. Ha-ha! The discussion and thoughts shared in this safe space were enlightening to say the least. Some of the things brought up were very personal. Some things that were brought up still have me thinking in terms of our community and how we approach and discuss health.
Is health a moral imperative? Who is to say that anyone must seek health? What does health even look like? What are the guidelines for what is healthy? When you have a chronic disease, can you still be otherwise “healthy”? How much of the health talk within our community is actually yet another form of fat phobia, internalized or not? How do we even have these discussions without getting sucked into the “good fatty vs. bad fatty” debate? Is there a line where one can be “too fat”?
Heavy stuff, no?
The point of the workshop wasn’t to come to some magically wrapped up and tied with a bow solution, but to begin the discussion and open the dialogue so that it may continue within our community. A lot of what we may deem as concern for someone is often bathed in our own prejudices, shame and misinformation. If you’ve ever glanced around the room to make sure you weren’t the fattest in the room, you might get an idea of what I’m talking about. “At least I’m not that big” came up as a way to show that even within our own community there is shame/hate/phobia.
How much control does one even have over their health? What is self-care? These were a touchy ones. What came out of the discussion was that we all, individually, only have so much control over our health and that it can vary greatly from person to person. What one person sees as self-care another may see as overwhelming at best. And I realized that much of my previous blogging about self-care, or how I saw it, was some classist shit and I’m terribly sorry for not seeing that before. This surprised me because I am working class/working poor and always have been, yet what I was, let’s face it, preaching, wasn’t attainable or even attractive or accessible to all. I am grateful for this new knowledge and perspective.
I walked away from the workshop with an even stronger attachment to body autonomy as a concept and way of life. It is my body and my business. Nothing else matters unless I choose. This applies to everyone. What we allow in our own lives is often a choice, but not always. What is healthy physically and mentally should be up to the person living that life, not me and not you.